HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s General Assembly voted Tuesday to give lawmakers and the state’s constitutional officers their first pay raises in more than two decades.
The bill, approved on votes of 95-53 in the House and 23-13 in the Senate, included an amendment that would raise the pay of Connecticut House members from a base of $28,000 a year to over $44,000 and hike the pay of senators from $28,000 to more than $45,000, beginning in January 2023.
The governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, secretary of the state, comptroller and treasurer also would receive raises.
Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat who is independently wealthy and does not accept the current $150,000 salary for his job, has said he would sign a pay-raise bill if it comes to his desk.
The bill stipulates that the governor will earn the same salary as the chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court (currently $226,711) and the other officers will see their salaries rise from $110,000 a year to a salary equal to a Superior Court judge (currently $189,483).
Future pay would be adjusted every two years based on the federal Employment Cost Index.
Rep. Doug Dubitsky, R-Chaplin, argued during the debate that the current low pay and long hours associated with working at the Capitol has made it impossible for most people to become a lawmaker.
“That’s why we are over-representative of lawyers, independently rich people, retired people and adults living in their parents’ basement,” he said.
State Rep. David Wilson, a Litchfield Republican, said he is retiring in part because of the low pay. He said he also found it difficult to recruit candidates to run for his seat under the current pay structure, which was designed for a part-time legislature and put in place in 2001.
He said he takes home about $1,300 a month as a state representative, after taxes. Those with leadership or committee chair positions can earn more than $40,000 a year.
“We’re not getting rich on this obligation that we’ve taken on to work for the people of the state of Connecticut,” Wilson said.
Connecticut is one of several states where bills were proposed this year to boost salaries.